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Hamilton Road2Hope Half Marathon Race Recap! (Part 1)

Posted Nov 15 2012 12:25pm


So back in October I ran the Toronto Scotiabank Waterfront Half Marathon, in hopes of running a PR (sub 1:55:36) and in my perfect world, sub 1:55. In typical runner fashion, when I didn’t hit my goal I had 100000 excuses like rain and blisters.  BUT, I wasn’t too crushed because I still had a great run, and I knew I would have another shot on November 4th in Hamilton.

“They” say that after a race you need 1 day of rest or very light exercise for every mile raced. This would mean I needed 13 days of rest/recovery before gearing up for Hamilton, leaving me 1 week to get ready again. I had generally planned to ignore this rule, but my giant blisters disagreed– as did the days and days of rain that would only make things worse. While I was still teaching boot camps, I only ran three times between the Toronto and Hamilton races. Let’s go through those three runs…

Run 1: It’s pouring rain out. I’ve already put this first run off a million times so I decided to suck it up and run in the rain for a measly 4km, at which point I would arrive at the indoor track and continue my run there, warm and dry. This dream got nipped in the bud when I arrived to a closed track due to a “special event.” Josh picked me up, dreams crushed. NOTE: Usually I love running in the rain but in my new VFFs I get major blisters in the rain which I couldn’t afford a week before the race.

Run 2: The Thursday before race day, November 1st. I figure I better get a run in just to make sure I’m feeling good, just a little 5k. Around 3.5km I got instant, out of the blue, intense, sharp chest pains. I slowed down, took deep breaths and made my way home, finishing the planned 5k. The chest pains were just under my left breast and they were deep, sharp and I could feel them in my back too. Over 24 hours passed and the chest pains remained, so off I went to the hospital on Friday morning. I was pretty sure I just had a strained muscle in my chest but wanted to get it checked out and get cleared to race on Sunday and fly the following Monday. When I arrived, I found out that due to a few factors (age, medications), I am technically “at risk” for developing blood clots. I went through a series of tests (ECG, x-rays, blood).

At the end of the day, I tested positive in the d-dimer blood test (indicates potential blood clots), this test actually has a VERY high number of false positives, so the doctor suggested that I go home and just pay attention to how I felt. He said I was free to run on Sunday as long as I felt able, and he said if anything got worse I should come back to the hospital– though he doubted this would happen.

Run 3: The doctor said I should run one more time to make sure I was able and then decide whether or not to race on Sunday. I ran 1 mile and felt great. Everything was fine, physically– I didn’t have any pain while running. Mentally, I was a bit messed up. I was so worried that I would invoke the same pains, I didn’t want to push myself, and this, my friends, is no way to make a PR. I had a decision to make. Race day or no race day?

Quite a few people told me not to bother because a) what if something went wrong? and b) even if something didn’t, I wasn’t going to PR and I would just be disappointed. Why torture my bod for no reason? I kind of agreed. I didn’t pick up my race kit and was leaning towards no race. Saturday night I started to think about all the reasons I WANTED to race:

  • Perfect weather forecast!
  • Last halfie of the season
  • It had already been paid for
  • A sweet course– 6km DOWNHILL, pardon?
  • What’s the big deal if I get chest pains and quit? DNF > DNS.

I talked it over with my sister Jess and I was like EFF IT, I’M RUNNING. She agreed. I chugged water, ate a burger for dinner and some birthday cake for dessert (HBD Dad!). Race fuel of champs. I got all my stuff ready and went to bed wearing my fave bracelet.

I slept somewhere around 4 hours, I had chest pains most of the night– they were always more intense lying down. I felt fine when I got up but continued to feel them all the to the start line. Didn’t matter, the race day excitement is contagious and I was in it (to win it).


To be continued because I don’t want to make you cross-eyed!







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